The Union Recorder

CNHI Special Projects

April 28, 2013

Local agencies trained well for disaster

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Emergency preparation defines local responder roles in the case of a catastrophic event or natural disaster. Considering national devastation levied by recent storms or violent acts, planning and protocol are agency buzzwords at the moment.

Through the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), law enforcement, fire rescue and medical personnel routinely train for a wide variety of events.

Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee said, as a rural community, group coordination is key.

“We are smart enough to realize we are small in numbers, and we are going to be the first responders. Historically, we've always had very good response,” the sheriff said.

A proactive approach contributes to the overall mindset that Milledgeville and Baldwin County are emergency ready.

Emergency response team

EMA is a county government mandate. Tabletop and live test scenarios keep responders prepared.

“The agencies work closely together,” Massee said. “We meet and go over different scenarios, where we will have a professional response.”

New area EMA director and county fire rescue chief Troy Reynolds said first responder preparedness develops the most efficient plans for the city and county.

If disaster time comes, all agencies must act as one, and Reynolds believes they will. These include city and county fire, police, BCSO, Georgia College Public Safety, Georgia State Patrol, Oconee Regional Medical Center and Georgia Bureau of Investigation to name a few.

“We have the people in place to deal with it. It's hard to predict what all will be involved. It's a matter of being prepared and trained for it when it does happen,” Reynolds said.

Local EMA has accountability systems in place for safe handling during chaos operations. The EMA director reviews and updates the protocol yearly.

Reynolds said the plan covers the who's who gathering if and when the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) activates. This unified command post directs operations deploying resources where needed.

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